There was no Exodus. The reason is that the Israelites were never captives in Egypt. The Bible itself proves this.
Over at Banned by HWA!, Israel Finkelstein told me: "We Exaggerate" shows that Archeology demonstrates that there was no Exodus. At the end of the blog posting is this summary:
Evidence or not for the Exodus? Evidence there is none, but we can see that there was one period in Egyptian history when such an event could have taken place, one period when the three major conditions suggested by the biblical account came together and could have given it plausibility. And that would make Akhenaten the Pharaoh of the Oppression and young Tutankhamun the Pharaoh of the Exodus. And the date? That would be around 1330 BCE.
I Chronicles 7:20-24 give a brief account about members of the family of Ephraim:
1 Ch 7:20 And the sons of Ephraim; Shuthelah, and Bered his son, and Tahath his son, and Eladah his son, and Tahath his son,
:21 And Zabad his son, and Shuthelah his son, and Ezer, and Elead, whom the men of Gath that were born in that land slew, because they came down to take away their cattle.
:22 And Ephraim their father mourned many days, and his brethren came to comfort him.
:23 And when he went in to his wife, she conceived, and bare a son, and he called his name Beriah, because it went evil with his house.
:24 (And his daughter was Sherah, who built Bethhoron the nether, and the upper, and Uzzensherah.)
I & II Chronicles: A Commentary (The Old Testament Library) by Sara Japhet
In her commentary on Chronicles, Sara Japhet writes: ...the story as a literary work deals with the individual Ephraim, the son of Joseph - an approach emphasized by 'their father', 'his brothers', 'his wife', etc. The events described transpired in the land; this is where the historical emphasis of the narrative lies. The depiction of Ephraim as a real individual, settled in the land, is not a passing remark here but a fundamental element, and this is true also of ‘his brothers’, whose coming to comfort Ephraim in his grief reminds the reader of the story of Job's friends'. Furthermore Ephraim's daughter Sheerah is the builder of three cities, two of which are well-known Ephraimite localities. ... The individual Ephraim, his sons, brothers, wife and daughter, are all here in the land, and as a person he could not have lived in both Egypt and Israel. The close bond established between Joseph and the land should be regarded as the Chronicler’s alternative to the Hexateuch tradition. (pp. 181-182)
The Chronicler in I Chronicles 7:20-24, gave a version of Ephraim's history in which the sojourn in Egypt and the exodus never took place! This is not the Ephraim who was born to Joseph in Egypt (Gen 41:52), and whose descendants spent 400 years in Egypt and another 40 in the wilderness before conquering the land of Ephraim. Although Chronicles is usually seen as a late work, this tradition seems to pre-date the canonical Pentateuch, portraying Ephraim and his immediate family as indigenous settlers of the land named after him.
There can be no reconciliation between the account of Genesis and Exodus with Chronicles. Therefore, the Bible not only contradicts itself, but eliminates the possibility that there was a captivity in Egypt, an Exodus, the incident of the parting of the Red Sea, the Commandments given on Mount Sinai... wait a minute - in the Book of Exodus, but in the Book of Deuteronomy it's Mount Horeb. It seems as if when you tell it a second time there are inevitable variances, as has already been shown between Genesis and Chronicles. The Jews already know this and have known it for a long time. They don't believe that the Old Testament (Scripture) is actually, literally true: It is a collection of myths and stories designed to unite a social group.
Notice though what Retired Prof as an apologist said at Banned!:
"If you’re going to tell a good story of myth, at least give it a disclaimer at the outset so people won’t assume it’s true." No, no, anon. A myth doesn’t have to be true, but people have to believe it is. A disclaimer would have robbed the Hebrew myth of its function. By "myth" I don’t mean "a false story, a cosmic error." I mean "a grand story that explains the origins of a people and/or their place in the universe." People have to see the myth as a background to hold their life up against, or maybe a framework to hang it on. If they read or hear it as a quaint piece of oral literature from a bygone age, with a merely metaphoric relation to their lives, or none at all, they have no foundation for relating to the world. For that matter, they may see no way to relate to each other. When a girl in the second college I attended discovered I did not subscribe to her myth and was unsure whether any god actually existed or not, her next question was, "Then how can you ever love anybody?"
"The myth clung to by most modern educated persons is the two-chapter Big Bang/Process of Evolution narrative. It is based on facts, and is credible enough in broad outline for scientists such as the late Carl Sagan and Neil DeGrasse Tyson to persuade many followers to accept it as a true picture of their place in the universe. As reported recently on this blog, not everyone is in agreement on the matter. Some theorists are reinterpreting the observed facts to propose variants of and/or
alternatives to the “classic”Big Bang narrative. We can’t be sure yet until more facts are discovered and more calculations are performed how closely any of the proposed narratives approximate our actual situation and its background. The thing to keep in mind is that the stories give some people a framework for their lives. The good news is, there is no reason any of them should keep us from loving somebody."
March 11, 2017 at 11:00 AM
The Promised Desolation
The problem with all that as a mechanism to unite a society, a myth of this time has always seemed to have been a tool to unite people into wars and conquests, and don't you know, that's the very story of the Old Testament. Love and peace? Not so much. How about wars, violence, conquests, territory acquisition and national aggrandizement — hardly the tool that one should want in a civilized society, particularly given in the light the popularity of liberal globalization of today. It gets worse though: The tale of Ezer and Elead isn't the only biblical text oblivious to the exodus. When we look at the genealogy of Manasseh in the same chapter of 1 Chronicles (7:14-19), we see the same paradigm in effect. The Chronicler presents the tribe of Manasseh as having a strong Aramean character, for both of Manasseh's sons are born to his Aramean concubine, Gilead's wife has the Aramean name Maacah, and Manasseh's daughter has the Aramean name Hammolecheth. In other words, the Chronicler describes a family whose women are all Aramean, implying the tribe itself is half Aramean — which makes sense, given its location in northeast Israel near the Aramean kingdoms, but only if we ignore the Pentateuchal story, in which Manasseh and many generations of his offspring live their entire lives in Egypt.
As Japhet notes:
The Chronicler, by contrast, conceives of the bond between the Manassites and the Aramaeans as going back to the person of Manasseh himself. …ignoring the intermediate phase of sojourn in Egypt, it presents a continuity of territorial occupation. (p. 178) It is, in fact, the same with all the Chronicler’s genealogies. At every step of the way, from the tribal patriarch down the line, these names, ostensibly presented as individuals, actually represent ethnic groups and place-names in Palestine; the Chronicler structures his genealogies according to his understanding of real-world geographic and ethnic relationships. It is impossible to conceive that these complex relations, including ties with non-Israelite neighbors, originated during a four-century period of slavery in Egypt.
Map of Ephraim in Ancient Palestine
More examples of biblical traditions that preclude the Egyptian sojourn can be found, and not just in Chronicles. We have a strange story about Judah in Genesis 38 that disrupts the story of Joseph's abduction and rise to power in Egypt. Abandoning his brothers, Judah settles in Canaan, finds a wife, and has several sons. His two oldest sons are killed by Yahweh in adulthood - Er for unspecified wickedness, and Onan for failing to fulfill sexual obligations toward his brother's widow Tamar. When Judah withholds his third son from Tamar, she poses as a prostitute and seduces Judah, producing twin sons. These events take place in various Judahite towns and clearly tie Judah and his descendants to that land. The chronology is irreconcilable with the exodus story.
Egyptologist Donald Redford writes:
There is no time span between the end of chapter 37 and the beginning of chapter 39...to justify the presence of a digression. And yet the only reasonable explanation of the present order of the chapters must be chronological: chapter 38 could not follow the Joseph Story, since Judah is then in Egypt for the rest of his life, while the setting of 38 is in Palestine. It could not precede the Joseph Story, for Judah is an old grandfather at the close of 38, while at the outset of the Joseph Story he is still a young man. It should here be noted that no matter where chapter 38 be placed an insurmountable difficulty remains. Judah is there pictured as himself an aged patriarch, peacefully settled in Palestine. In the Joseph Story, however, he remains among the brothers and is apparently without wife or children, i.e. is still a young man. (p. 17)
Perez, one of Judah's sons by Tamar, had sons named Hezron and Hamul (Numbers 26:21; I Chronicles 2:5; Genesis 46:12). The last passage is the most damaging to Bible inerrancy, because Genesis 46 lists Hezron and Hamul as part of the 70/75 members of the house of Jacob who entered Egypt (Genesis 46:8, 27). The problem is that there is no way to squeeze in enough time between Genesis 38 and Judah’s grandsons’ entry into Egypt, since only 22 years elapsed in the life of Joseph (compare, Genesis 37:2f, 41:46f, 45:6).
Archaeologist William Dever recently wrote:
To make a long story short, today not a single mainstream biblical scholar or archaeologist any longer upholds "biblical archaeology's" conquest model. Various theories of indigenous origins prevail, in which case there is neither room nor need for an exodus of significant proportions. To put it succinctly, if there was no invasion of Canaan by an "Exodus group," then there was no Exodus. ...the ancestors of the majority of ancient Israelites and Judeans had never been in Egypt. They were essentially Canaanites, displaced both geographically and ideologically. (Israel's Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective, (p. 404)
The golden calf as described in the book of Exodus as the Promised Calf God
Several Old Testament scholars have developed the theory that Samaria / Israel had two competing origin stories: the Aramean story (Jacob) and the Egyptian story. Abram was a folktale hero / patriarch in Judah. The compilers of Genesis and the hexateuch basically stitched all these patriarchal legends into one story, adding the Babylonian component to Abraham and making everyone related to each other. The main reason Abraham is said to come from somewhere other than Canaan is to “historically” establish that the Israelites were not Canaanites, even though, evidence suggests that they were.
Now there are some Biblical Scholars who suggest that there may have been an ‘Exodus’ from Egypt, but it wasn’t what you might think. It turns out that the ‘Levitical Priesthood’ was merely a group of clerics hired to provide services to any of those who hired them. The thesis of Richard Elliott Friedman et al. that the Exodus from Egypt involved only the Levites, and that when they came to Canaan and joined the resident Canaanites/Israelites, eventually the Exodus story became all of Israel’s “history.” Friedman, piggybacking the work of his mentor, Frank Moore Cross, dates the Song of the Sea and the Song of Deborah (Judges 5) to be the two oldest texts in the Bible. Friedman points out that the Song of the Sea, set in Egypt, doesn’t mention all of Israel, while the Song of Deborah, set in Israel, doesn’t mention the Levites. Combine this with the fact that many Levites–Moses, Phinehas, Hur, etc.–have Egyptian names, and things start falling into place. Only when P, who was at best the fourth-oldest source for the Exodus, starts writing do we see the large numbers and specific length of sojourn. We must remember though, this is only a possibility, and, in the end, maybe nobody came out of Egypt as outlined in Exodus, anyway.
There are reasons to think that "Levite" originally designated a member of a cultic profession rather than a clan or tribe member. For one thing, the name itself may mean “a person pledged for a debt or vow” (i.e. to a deity). In Judges 17:7, we have a Levite who is clearly said to be of the tribe of Judah, and his professional skills as a Levite priest are a focus of the story. In Exodus 4:14, Yahweh speaking to Moses calls his brother “Aaron the Levite”—an appellation that only makes sense if Levite is to be equated with a priestly caste or group rather than an ethnic group. Under this reasoning, we can assume that the idea of Levites being a tribe was a later innovation.
Furthermore, we see evidence in the biblical texts of rival priestly groups vying for control of the temple and other religious positions: Zadokites, Aaronites, Mushites, Korahites, Merarites, and others. I Chronicles 12 and 27 list Aaron and Zadok alongside the other tribes, implying some kind of independent relationship. In exilic and post-exilic times, Zadokites were clearly distinct from the Levites; the former were allowed to serve as altar priests, while the latter were relegated to lesser functions, a division made clear in Ezekiel. The genealogies portraying the Zadokites as descended from Aaron and Levi are generally agreed to be a fiction to provide them with an appropriate ancient lineage. Levites are frequently mentioned as a group distinct from the temple priests and other functionaries in Ezra-Nehemiah and other texts. The evolution of, and rivalry between, various priestly groups and temple functionaries is a complicated subject, but the simplistic notion of a monolithic priestly tribe called Levi does not seem to fit the evidence.
All of this has implications, particularly for those of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia. If all this is accurate, the war between Dr. Germano and James Malm over the calendar are particularly meaningless: Calendar? What calendar? No Israel in the desert. At all. No Feast Days. No Passover. How could there be a Passover, when there were no plagues of Egypt, no death angel and no Exodus. All pretty meaningless, right? And if there was no Exodus, there would be no Ten Commandments, there would be no legitimate priesthood and Jesus would be rather useless because even if he were to have existed, nothing about the premises for which he existed would be true..
And, of course, we get back to Ephraim. If Ephraim were always Armenian, then being a lost tribe would be irrelevant. It would be even more irrelevant and rather stupid to claim that Ephraim was a lost tribe of Israel, since the ‘tribe’ of Ephraim wouldn’t be Israelite in the first place. Hence it would be easy and convenient to ‘lose’ the whole tribe. Showing up in Britain as an heritage of Israel would be utterly stupid and irrelevant.
Promised Land Today: Jerusalem old city in Israel
The Jews know this. The theologians know this. They just aren’t going to tell you.
Because they would have far too much to lose.
Oh... and happy new year that isn't.
A late addition from Avalokiteshvara at False Prophet Weinland:
March 27, 2017 at 21:25 "It gets better Douglas… I lived in Israel for a time. The Exodus lasted 42 years in total covering a space roughly equivalent of the distance between Detroit, Michigan, and Buffalo, NY! How do you wander for 42 years in that space with OVER ONE MILLION PEOPLE? and not leave a single trace. The Sinai is not a sand dune desert, but more of a hard ground, lots of rocks kind of desert, so the presence of MILLIONS of Israelites for 42 YEARS would leave millions of camp fire sites, dropped bits of metal or leather, beads, wood fragments, dried biological remains (dead people, poop), quail bones, broken swords, spears, coins, jewelry, teeth, bones, and everything else possible. NOTHING has been found out there. NO-THING. It is dry dead and empty out there, and JEWISH archeologists have found NOTHING. There are also no Egyptian records of an Exodus, and like you point out 1st Chronicles contradicts the Exodus account in Genesis 41. I have been out in the Sinai Peninsula. You have to ignore Reality to believe the Biblical Exodus. Not even Jewish archeologists believe it happened."
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